NYC Parks News for Fort Totten Park copyright © 2016 NYC Department of Parks and Recreation NYC Department of Parks & Recreation en-us Sat, 28 May 2016 18:11:23 GMT NYC Parks News 25 25 <![CDATA[Fort Totten Tunnel Tour With The Urban Park Rangers]]> dailyplant23319 Join the Urban Park Rangers this Saturday, February 28, for a historic walking tour back to the nineteenth century. Learn the stories of Fort Totten and its role in defending New York City. This walk takes you through the cavernous Endicott Batteries and Main Magazine areas of Fort Totten. Come see an unfamiliar part of Fort Totten, forgotten and mysterious.

Construction of Fort Totten was completed in 1863. Initial construction plans were prepared by Captain Robert E. Lee. It was named in honor of Brigadier General Joseph G. Totten, Chief of Engineers. It mounted 20 guns and mortars, including eight 32-pounders. The forts 100-pounder Parrott rifle provided long-range support to Fort Stevens during Confederate General Jubal A. Earlys attack on that for on July 11 and 12, 1864.

Fort Totten was initially charged with defending the eastern approach to New York Harbor. Facing the East River with Throggs Neck in the Bronx across the way. However, with rapid advances made to fortification designs by battlefield engineers and commanders in the course of the Civil War in the South, Fort Totten became obsolete as a defensive structure and its facilities were instead used for casualty support and hospital care (1864-1965).

Saturdays tour will go through the main magazine section which was constructed in 1862, which is usually not accessible to the public. The main magazine is the storage room for all the artillery used at the battery is part of the Water Battery.

Fort Totten Tunnel Tour

Fort Totten Visitors Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens

1:00 p.m.


Wednesday, February 18, members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) gathered Detective Keith Williams Field House in Queens to deliver some warmth in this chilly season. They handed out coats to youth. The coat drive was sponsored by the International Association of Fire Firefighters (IAFF). The fire officers of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) of local 854 worked on whats called Operation Warm and has given out coats in the Bronx, and Brooklyn in addition to Queens. With this being their first year, they have already given out 200 coats.


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness."

Helen Keller


<![CDATA[This Weekend In Parks: Halloween Edition]]> dailyplant22290 2016-05-28T14:11:23-04:00 <![CDATA[Parks & USDA Cut Ribbon On First-Ever Urban Field Station in NYC Parks]]> dailyplant22267 2016-05-28T14:11:23-04:00 <![CDATA[History Comes Alive At Fort Totten Park]]> dailyplant20601 During the Civil War, Fort Totten served as a United States Army base and its historic building was used to store weapons for Union forces. For more than a century, the fort guarded the Long Island Sound until it was decommissioned and converted into a public park three years ago. Two weeks ago we opened the new Fort Totten Visitors Center. The interior was reconfigured to accommodate educational displays highlighting the park's role in American history.

On March 14, Commissioner Benepe joined Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Council Member Tony Avella, State Senator Frank Padavan and State Senator Toby Stavisky along with fourth-grade students from P.S. 209 to cut the ribbon on $1.3 million in renovations to the Fort Totten Visitors Center in Bayside, Queens.

From military weapon storage site to shoe repair facility to Visitors Center for a public park, this buildings historic legacy lives on, said Commissioner Benepe. Thanks to funding from Mayor Bloomberg and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Parks was able to reconstruct the Fort Totten Visitors Center and make it ADA-accessible and more user-friendly. We look forward to hosting educational displays about the parks history and environmental significance for Queens residents and visitors to enjoy.

With $450,000 allocated by Mayor Bloomberg and $850,000 in funding allocated by Borough President Helen Marshall, the Parks Department renovated the historic building, which was once used for military storage in the early 1900s and as a shoe repair facility in the 1940s. The center features a new ADA accessible entrance way, ADA compliant comfort station, roof, exterior paving, and interior configuration with room for museum displays.

I am happy to support this project, which is a centerpiece of the historic Fort Totten rebirth that will benefit and provide enjoyment for generations of visitors, said Queens Borough President Marshall.

The renovation of the Visitors Center at Fort Totten Park is another major element in the conversion of the park, a former civil war fortress and Army base, into a beautiful 50-acre park. Fort Totten was acquired as part of the Federal Lands to Parks Program and was opened to the public as a park by Mayor Bloomberg on June 13, 2005, making it Queens first major new park to open in decades. The historic battery was renovated and opened to the public in June of 2005. In the summer of 2007, Fort Totten Pool, formerly operated by the YMCA, was opened to the public.

The Fort Totten Visitors Center will serve as an important museum for park visitors to learn about Fort Tottens historical as well as environmental significance. The museum display, which will be expanded in the future, currently includes two civil war replica uniforms, replica artillery, and maps of the fort. The Parks Departments Urban Park Rangers, the Citys outdoor specialists, will run their Fort Totten education programs from the Visitors Center building.


Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

Albert Einstein
(1879 1955)

<![CDATA[Set Your DVRs For "It’s My Park!"]]> dailyplant20146

Mark Tuesday nights at 11:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. on your calendars. That is because those are the airtimes for "Its My Park," the television show highlighting the best of the Department of Parks & Recreation. The show airs on NYC TV (Channel 25 on Time Warner, Channel 22 on Cablevision). The show will air Tuesday nights at 11:00 p.m. with an encore presentation Saturday afternoons at 5:00 p.m.

With nearly 29,000 acres of Parks, New York Citys "emerald empire" extends beyond your neighborhood playground offering a surprising richness of things to do and sights to behold. From swimming pools to wetlands and everything in between, "Its My Park" showcases the treasure trove of experiences waiting for you. Bridle path or bike path, "Its My Park" will lead you to a seasons worth of fun.

Using a documentary format, "Its My Park" showcases activities going on in parks throughout the five boroughs which are generally free to the public but not widely known about. This season features segments ranging from extreme sports like urban mountain biking to serene hobbies like community gardening. This season will also uncover hidden histories, take viewers to unheard of facilities and get the word out about free programs.

Highlights of this season include DJ Kool Herc going back to the park where he first spun and scratched and became a founding father of hip hop, a trip inside the Little Red Lighthouse, an annual fishing contest held at Prospect Park, and a walk across the High Bridge. The show will also explore unique locations such as McCarren Pool in Brooklyn and the future Freshkills Park in Staten Island.

Be sure not to miss "Its My Park," Tuesday nights at 11:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. on NYC TV.

Episodes include...

Can I Do That?
From building boats to bird watching, go beyond New York's concrete jungle.

Whats That?
Find out what a velodrome is and who uses it. Meet the cowboys at the Cedar Lane Stables, as well as the crew that cares for hundreds of the monuments throughout the city. See whos gone fishin from the Sheepshead Bay Marina in Brooklyn.

Whos Counting?
There are Bocce courts in 39 parks, original Keith Haring murals in two parks, a vegan food vendor and a gelato cart in one park, and the oldest structure in New York State in yet another.

Renaissance All Over Again
From Shakespeare to Handball, Parks are classic and modern.

Forts, Festivals and Farming
Featuring Fort Tryon Park, Orchard Beach, Grove Hill Learning Garden and Morningside Park.

Good Eats and Good Stories
Featuring Red Hook Park Food Vendors, Historic Fort Totten, a space age playground, ice skating and more.


"Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold."

Ludwig van Beethoven

(1770 1827)

<![CDATA[This Weekend In Parks]]> dailyplant20131 Queens

Join us this Saturday at Fort Totten for "Denizens of Darkness," as we explore the after-hours aerial world of bats, one of natures most misunderstood animals. We will observe bats hunting in their natural habitat and learn how they are able to find their prey in the dark. Meet at 8 p.m. at the fort entrance, north of the 212 Street and Cross Island Parkway intersection. For more information, call (718) 352-1769.


Come out to La Roca Community Garden this Saturday for the Peace and Justice Festival. Check out local hip-hop artists such as Rebel Diaz and more. All are welcome. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. at 160th Street and Elton Avenue. For more information, call (646) 250-4405.


Names like Putnam, DeKalb, Lafayette, and Kosciusko are part of our urban-built landscape. Who were they, and what role did they play here in the birth of our nation? Join the Rangers for a special history walk and talk at Fort Greene Park. Meet at the Visitors Center at 1 p.m. For more information, call (718) 722-3218.


This Sunday at Inwood Hill Park, Join the Urban Park Rangers for a day of birding. Youll start your adventure with a bird tour of Inwood Hill Park, where you can spot red-tailed hawks and the American bald eagle. Birding begins at the Inwood Hills Nature Center at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. For more information, call 212-304-2365.

Staten Island

Dead trees are filled with life, and play a vital role in the forest ecosystem for bugs, herps and other living things. This Saturday, join the Urban Park Ranger naturalists for "Living Logs" at High Rock Park, and see the creatures and fungi that make living logs their home. Meet at the Urban Park Ranger Station at 3 p.m. For more information, call (718) 967-3542.


"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

Robert Frost

<![CDATA[Love Blooms In New York City’s Parks]]> dailyplant19787 Though New York City is filled with extraordinary dining and extravagant gifts, our natural settings still reign supreme as romantic spots for Valentine’s Day. In any given park throughout the city, you will often find New Yorkers, dressed in their best, hand-in-hand (or, sometimes, lip-to-lip) with their spouses. Read on for some of New York City’s most romantic spots.


Van Cortlandt Park – Take a leisurely walk around the lake or hike the John Muir Nature Trail in this woodsy paradise.
Wave Hill – Watch the sun set over the Palisades or visit one of the most impressive arboretums in New York City.
Orchard Beach – A romantic walk on the rocky shoreline of Hunter Island will transport you to the coast of Old New England.
Bronx Park – Watch the spectacular waterfall on New York City’s only freshwater river, Bronx River.

Brooklyn Bridge Park – Watch the sun set over Manhattan as the East River glistens before you.
Lullwater Bridge, Prospect Park – The waterfall and boathouse make the perfect setting for romance.
Fulton Park – Stroll through the great trees in this treasured neighborhood park.
Sunset Park – Eagle-eye views of Manhattan, Staten Island, New Jersey, and the Statue of Liberty over the East River and New York Bay will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Heather Garden, Fort Tryon Park – This picturesque garden offers spectacular views of the Palisades in all seasons.
The Battery – Take in unparalleled views as seagulls fly, the waves lap, and the sun sets over Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Madison Square Park – Enjoy world-class outdoor art in this historic park right in the heart of Manhattan.
Carl Schurz Park – Cuddle up on the benches behind the grand, Federal-style Gracie Mansion.

Fort Totten Park – Peer across the Long Island Sound through stately Civil War-era structures.
Astoria Park – Stroll the East River waterfront overlooking Roosevelt Island and the awesome Manhattan skyline.
Baisley Pond Park – Sit and relax under the gazebo and gaze out at the fabled gigantic lily pads resting on the pond.
Kissena Park – Weeping willows set the mood around the beautiful lake.

Staten Island:
Alice Austen House – This Victorian garden will transport you to 19th-century romance.
Willowbrook Park – Ride the carousel with your sweetheart and feel like a kid again.
Clove Lakes Park – Row a boat ride on the lake while enjoying the beautiful park.

St. Valentine is considered the patron saint of love and lovers. According to legend, he married lovers in secret when Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage, fearing it made men poor soldiers. While imprisoned for these actions, he sent the first "valentine," a note to his beloved that he signed "from your Valentine."


"If you keep at it, one day something which at first appeared impossible will become merely something very difficult indeed."

Danny Paradise
(born 1943)

<![CDATA[ANOTHER HAPPY DAY FOR FORT TOTTEN]]> dailyplant19745 2016-05-28T14:11:23-04:00 <![CDATA[FORT TOTTEN MOVES FORWARD]]> dailyplant18816 In anticipation of the City’s aquisition of Fort Totten, Parks & Recreation has begun making the site safe for people to visit. Under sunny skies last Wednesday, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined State Senator Frank Padavan, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, New York State Northeastern Queens Nature & Historical Preserve Commission Vice-Chair Bernard Haber, Queens Parks & Recreation Commissioner Richard Murphy, Parks & Recreation’s Northeast Park Administrator Janice Melnick, and many others to begin site safety work at Fort Totten.

The $730,000 project includes installation of hand rails, lighting, paving, signage, and horticultural work. The source of the funds includes roughly $475,000 in State grant money secured by Senator Padavan; an additional $167,000 and $88,000 were allocated by the Borough President and the Mayor, respectively.

"A number of years ago we thought we had to do something to protect the Fort," said Senator Padavan. "We obviously have a long way to go, but we’re off to a good start. Many, many more things will happen here over the years as this becomes truly a park, a jewel in this system of parks across the city."

Commissioner Benepe envisioned the historic setting serving as a venue for free outdoor theatrical productions, such as Shakespeare’s Henry V or Macbeth. "If you’re not stirred by these fortifications, you don’t have blood running through your veins, " said the Commissioner.

"We’re very conscious of the work that has to be done," remarked Borough President Marshall, who reiterated Senator Padavan’s characterization of the Fort as a ‘jewel’. "This is one of the wonders of our country. I look forward to it being fully restored."

The federal government is expected to turn over 90 acres of Fort Totten land to the City, of which Parks & Recreation will acquire about 49 acres. When plans for the fort’s future were devised, it was agreed that the new land would be used to promote public access to recreational open spaces and to the waterfront, and that the open space would be integrated into the New York City Greenway.

Fort Totten will be opened up in stages, according to Parks & Recreation’s Chief of Planning Joshua Laird. After the initial site safety improvements are completed, he explained, Parks & Recreation’s Urban Park Rangers will lead guided tours of the site. As more improvements are made, the park’s visitors will have more and more opportunities to freely explore and enjoy this historic area.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

Yogi Berra